Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Empty Saddle brings pain and joy

Today, June 4, would be my daddy's 100th birthday. Fifteen years ago June 4 was the day of his burial on his 85th birthday. I guess I write about my parents too much on my blog, but that comes with being an only child. It also comes with having extraordinary parents.

Daddy and me in the front porch swing
one Easter morning at the house
on Hwy. 51 where Everblooms is
located now. Photo and hand tinting
by my mother. 

Daddy and Pepper, the three-legged
English Shepherd cow dog extraordinaire.
Never a very successful businessman, Daddy was at the top of his game in making friends, spinning a tale of Western lore, handling a rank horse, quietly working a herd of cattle or bringing out the best in a shy dog. 

Born in Tate County, educated in New Mexico, Daddy served in World War II as a U.S. Army Medic. An animal husbandry graduate of Mississippi State University, he married Marjorie Latham of Eupora and farmed and raised livestock on family farmland in Barr, Miss. until his death.

In retirement he worked daily in his leather shop, repairing and rebuilding saddles, making equipment for his grandchildren and keeping their horses in top shape.

Below right, he uses my 4-H Champion Appaloosa mare, High Spots Tobie, to work cattle.  Intended as a show horse, Tobie also was taught to plow the garden....because it was the cowboy way.

One of my favorite pics shows Daddy and me before a horse show with his favorite mare Penny loaded in the back of the truck with panels.  "Load up, Mare," he would say and she would jump right up in the truck.  He was a firm believer in "making do."  He would say, "Baby, you have to ride what you've got and get the best out of it."
(below, left)
If he walked in the back door today and took off his weather-beaten cowboy hat and threw it down on the table, this is the conversation that would follow:

Daddy:  Hey Chalie, what you got for dinner?

Me:  Hey Daddy.  How about Texas cowboy red beans and cornbread?

Daddy:  (Big grin) Larapin!

Hayley Cathey Dandridge

June 4, 1913-June 2, 1998

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